I’m not sure what’s more common in virtual reality: wave-based shooters or Space Stations. Detached, the new virtual reality release from the team at Anshar Studios, embraces the latter, though a unique zero-gravity control scheme certainly helps it stand out amongst the crowd. It’ll also help you throw up if you’re not used to virtual reality, so yeah, you’ve been warned.
Detached sees you exploring a Space Station that’s in a state of disarray, with your job being to help get it all up and running again. It’s up to you to explore the station and its exterior, find out what the problems are and then come up with solutions. It blends together a couple of action-packed set pieces with puzzle-solving, and it makes for a decent combination – albeit one that lacks the thrills and spills of similar titles.
The one thing you’ll probably notice immediately with Detached is that it’s not for virtual reality newbies – in fact, even I felt the occasional kick in the stomach whilst trying to manoeuvre in the game and I consider myself a virtual reality veteran.
The controls are easy enough to follow, with the left stick sending you forward, the back trigger buttons pulling you up and down, and the shoulder buttons rotating the player. You can pull yourself to a complete halt by pressing the left analogue stick in, whilst basic interactions are assigned to the face buttons along with a little bit of head movement. It’s all really simple to get to grips with – it’s just the genuine sense of zero-gravity that takes getting used to.
That’s not a criticism by any means, though. I absolutely loved traversing through Detached’s environments and found movement intuitive and realistic – you can just expect to have a few ups and downs as you get used to it. It shouldn’t take experienced virtual reality gamers that long to adjust to the game, whilst newbies do have a fair few comfort settings they can play around with to ensure the game best suits their needs. The only thing I wish could be customise is the rotation speed, but again, that’s something you get used to fast.
One thing I found with Detached is that the actual objectives of the game just felt a little formulaic and bland. Whilst there’s no denying that traversing the Space Station and its surroundings feels impressive, the tasks you’re assigned and puzzles you’re left to solve never feel all that interesting. Add to that a lack of proper objective marking and you’ll often find yourself aimlessly navigating the environment trying to figure out what exactly you need to do.
Sure, there are some survival elements thrown in for good measure with the player having to manage their fuel and oxygen levels, but it’s hardly a thrilling sci-fi adventure. It’s almost as if the team behind the game made the zero-gravity exploration the priority of the game and everything else a bit of filler to go with it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s never boring or anything, but it’s hardly ever exciting. It’s a bit of a shame, especially since the game impresses so much in other areas of its design.
Whilst the gameplay itself isn’t always thrilling, Detached does deserve praise for looking so good. Admittedly, the Space Station’s interiors aren’t particularly eye-boggling with their traditional sci-fi design, but when you head outdoors and into space it’s hard not to feel blown away. There’s a real sense of scale to Detached’s environments, something which is made all the more impressive thanks to the fantastic lighting effects and attention to detail.
Things could look a little blurry when looked at from a distance, but seriously, it’s hard not to feel massively impressed by everything around you as you weave around the Space Station and all of the hazards surrounding it. It all feels incredibly cinematic in-game and Detached definitely deserves the accolade of being one of the better looking PlayStation VR titles.
Detached comes with online multiplayer modes which can be played in both one-versus-one or two-versus-two, but when I tried to give them a go there weren’t any players available to play with. It’s a shame because I’d have been intrigued to see the game’s take on capture the flag and racing, but as it stands I’ve not been able to find a single player online. I can’t imagine that the online community for Detached is ever going to be booming, but if you’re intending to purchase the game for that reason alone you might want to convince a friend to buy it too.
Still, props to the developer for including a multiplayer mode – I’m sure with a good group of players it could be a lot of fun with the game’s neat zero-gravity setup.
Detached offers an intriguing virtual reality sci-fi adventure that certainly impresses with its intuitive zero-gravity controls and great visuals, but it’s hard to find yourself feeling too excited with the actual gameplay. It’s not that it’s boring by any means, but rather that there’s nothing particularly thrilling about the things you actually do in the game.
Still, there’s no denying that there are some impressive sights on show and the addition of multiplayer action is certainly interesting (even if I can’t find any other players to play with). It’s just a shame that Detached feels like more of a case of style over substance than anything else.
Developer: Anshar Studios
Publisher: Anshar Studios
Release Date: Out Now
Format(s): PlayStation VR (Reviewed), HTC Vive, Oculus Rift